Tuscaloosa Police developing crisis intervention training program
By WVUA 23 News Reporter Ellie Byrd
TUSCALOOSA, AL – The Tuscaloosa Police Department is partnering with the University of Alabama School of Social Work to develop a training program so officers across the state can be better equipped during mental health crisis events.
Training courses are in person, there is also an eight-hour online course for officers who can’t make it to in-person training.
TPD Lead Mental Health Officer Lt. Craig Parker spent several months developing the course with daily situations officers encounter in mind.
During the training, officers learn how they can best respond to those with mental disorders or substance abuse issues, as well as learning de-escalation tactics.
Parker said TPD is doing what it can to ensure officers are prepared in the field.
“No. 1, we’re hoping to destigmatize mental illness,” Parker said. “It’s an illness like any other. We’re looking to better prepare our officers for the world they face on an everyday basis. This is what we’ve been called to do, and we should do this at the height of our profession.”
Parker said TPD developed the program so police officers around the state can be certified in the same training. This is the first program of its kind in Alabama, and Parker said it’s a much-needed step in the right direction.
“It’s absolutely crucial for law enforcement to be trained in this manner,” Parker said. “It provides for the safety of the community, the safety of the person involved and the safety of the officer.”